Celebrity baker Buddy Valastro, the star of such TV shows as "Cake Boss" and "Buddy vs Duff," says the hand he badly injured exactly a year ago Monday is almost completely healed.
"I'd say we're about 95 percent," the 44-year-old New Jersey native told host Rachael Ray remotely on her daytime talk and cooking show, "which if that's as good as it's going to get, Rachael, I'll take it."
Chatting as he decorated a large, two-tiered white cake, Valastro said his year of rehabilitation after mangling his right hand in a freak accident at his home's bowling alley has "definitely been an amazing ride, and the fact that I'm able to still do what I love, like doing that last season of 'Buddy vs Duff,' it was amazing because of the fact that I could still do it." Season 3 of that Food Network show, in which Valastro and celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman engage in culinary competition, aired July 18 to Sept. 5.
Valastro, whose Hoboken, New Jersey-based Carlo's Bake Shop has expanded nationwide, injured his hand when his home bowling alley's pinsetter malfunctioned. "After trying to release the bowling pin from the cage mechanism, his right hand became lodged and compressed inside the unit," his representative said in a statement at the time. "Unable to remove his hand, he can see a 1½" metal rod slowly and repeatedly impale his hand three times between his ring finger and middle finger."
Upon his hand being dislodged, Valastro underwent emergency surgery at New Jersey's Morristown Medical Center, followed by a second operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. He had a third surgery there in October.
In December, Valastro told E! News that, "They say this healing process could take up to nine months to a year because they reconnected nerves and stuff and you just don't know how they're going to grow," adding, "I'm starting to get back a lot of what I lost but I don't know if I'm going to be 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, hopefully 100 percent."